Which rims for my first good wheelset?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Paul Hobson, Dec 26, 2005.

  1. In article
    <[email protected]>,
    "Qui si parla Campagnolo" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Not a fan of Sun rims. When building they seem 'soft' and of the ones I
    > have built(customer brings them in, we build) they seem to need a lot
    > of time to make true and lot of time to keep that way.


    Not my experience with Sun CR-18. Lace, tighten, true,
    balance, stress relieve, ride; and they are running true
    years later. Good looking rim too.

    --
    Michael Press
     


  2. In article <[email protected]>,
    "StaceyJ" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Qui si parla Campagnolo wrote:
    >
    > >
    > > As bike shop owner, I would say have them do the whole enchilata...but
    > > we don't get sweated up if somebody wants us to build them, brings us
    > > the hubs and rims. BUT if ya buy complete wheels, have a wheelbuilder
    > > go through them doing tension, true, dish, round and stress relieve.looks
    > > pretty good
    > > right now.

    >
    > I'm curious about something...I've looked into the economics of bike
    > shop ownership (a foolish retirement dream of mine), and it seems that
    > the margins on hard goods are almost nil...likely even lower on parts
    > that are special ordered. In light of that, it seems that it would
    > almost be preferable if someone would come in strictly for service
    > (from my understanding, where the real money is). Does this ring true
    > (even a little)?


    I'm no bike shop owner, but I've never let a lack of expertise stop me
    from saying something :).

    The margins on bikes are pretty awful. I think most shops sell them
    primarily as entrees to accessory and future service work, and because
    bike shops genuinely want to put people on bikes. Lots of businesses
    work this way: stores that sell video games get nearly nonexistent
    margins on the actual consoles, at least for the first few months after
    release.

    Maintenance parts are probably sold at healthy margins, more or less.
    Nothing out of line with normal retail. Web retailers can be all over
    the place on the pricing of this stuff, but I think the fact that most
    people don't want to wait a week for their repair parts to arrive helps
    protect the retail margins for the average LBS.

    Hot new stuff, be it the latest suspension fork or the most desireable
    set of new wheels or whatever, commands high prices and high margins. Or
    at least it should.

    Run-of-the-mill accessories are a hard business. I suspect reasonable
    margins at most bike shops, but they're competing against mail-order
    bulk purchasing power and the closeouts of last year's models.

    The key here is whether a particular item has been commodified. Generic
    700c wheels are available for very little online, generic bikes are
    available for even less, and Nashbar will sell you an aluminum road
    frame for $120.

    The existence of that Nashbar frame doesn't prevent a ton of
    manufacturers from getting premium prices, be it because they are
    bespoke frame builders like Richard Sachs or because they have built a
    premium name in the market like Bianchi or Cannondale.

    Similarly, commodity wheels are cheap, but Zipp 303s still cost a pile,
    and hand-built wheels are priced to pay for the labour costs and a
    reasonable parts margin. Even lowly parts like headsets can be
    de-commodified if you're Chris King and you can maintain brand identity,
    which is a pretty good trick for two aluminum forgings, two commodity
    bearings, a top cap and some nice silk-screening.

    Bike shops can sell themselves in a lot of different ways. Becoming the
    local source of expertise on a particular type of bike is a good way,
    becoming a high-volume retailer with a good relationship with key
    suppliers makes sense, getting a reputation for peerless mechanical work
    or good service is fine, and you'll probably have to keep your costs in
    control.

    If I had to take a guess at the problem with bike shops, I'd say that
    besides the fact that online bike bit sources have eliminated a good
    chunk of LBS business, they also suffer from the same problem as
    restaurants: it's a sexy business that attracts a fair number of
    innocents who don't have the wit or talent to run their shop as a
    business. This can mean everything from having an unattractive
    storefront to bad cash control to not understanding the local market.
    It's a drag on the business both because these bad LBSs go out of
    business (or struggle along forever as accidental non-profit
    operations), and because they cause some havoc for more sensibly run
    shops, both as they struggle, and as they go out of business, the latter
    being one of my favorite times to bargain hunt.

    I don't think most shops can make a go by being the physical outlet for
    10 wholesaler's catalogs and three bike lines, and I think the
    successful local shops around here all go beyond that basic, poor-margin
    business in one key way or another.

    --
    Ryan Cousineau [email protected] http://www.wiredcola.com/
    "I don't want kids who are thinking about going into mathematics
    to think that they have to take drugs to succeed." -Paul Erdos
     
  3. StaceyJ wrote:
    > Qui si parla Campagnolo wrote:
    >
    > >
    > > As bike shop owner, I would say have them do the whole enchilata...but
    > > we don't get sweated up if somebody wants us to build them, brings us
    > > the hubs and rims. BUT if ya buy complete wheels, have a wheelbuilder
    > > go through them doing tension, true, dish, round and stress relieve.looks pretty good
    > > right now.

    >
    > I'm curious about something...I've looked into the economics of bike
    > shop ownership (a foolish retirement dream of mine), and it seems that
    > the margins on hard goods are almost nil...likely even lower on parts
    > that are special ordered. In light of that, it seems that it would
    > almost be preferable if someone would come in strictly for service
    > (from my understanding, where the real money is). Does this ring true
    > (even a little)?
    >
    > SYJ


    Absolutely...Bike shops that sell lots of bikes rely on volume to take
    care of the 'poor' margins and the requirement to discount at the end
    of the model year to 'make room' for new models.

    Self service soft goods are a good margin. Bicycles are a relatively
    poor margin. labor, is agreat margin.

    Our initial model was 6 car dealers locally but over 30 repair places.
    Honda/Acura-Hoshi motors, air cooled VW-Werner's, water cooled-Indian
    peaks...etc. Knowledgeable, welldone service will always do
    well....same for bicycles here in Boulder, why we service bicyclces
    bought elsewhere...like the Macalu yesterday.

    Plus service only and ya don't have to put that 'sales' face on and say
    things that 'may' stretch the truth. We tell it like it is..."no, those
    ksyriums are NOT worth $800", even if it means we don't sell something.
    Selling something that ya gotta take care of in the future, often at no
    cost to the customer, means ya gotta believe in what you sell.

    We sell bicycles because my biz partner and I, from two other shops in
    Boulder, brought a large clientel with us and they wanted to buy bikes
    from US, specifically...But we only sell about a hundred per
    year....most of our time is wrenching and wheelbuilding(about 400
    wheels per year).
     
  4. Ryan Cousineau wrote:

    >
    > If I had to take a guess at the problem with bike shops, I'd say that
    > besides the fact that online bike bit sources have eliminated a good
    > chunk of LBS business, they also suffer from the same problem as
    > restaurants: it's a sexy business that attracts a fair number of
    > innocents who don't have the wit or talent to run their shop as a
    > business. This can mean everything from having an unattractive
    > storefront to bad cash control to not understanding the local market.
    > It's a drag on the business both because these bad LBSs go out of
    > business (or struggle along forever as accidental non-profit
    > operations), and because they cause some havoc for more sensibly run
    > shops, both as they struggle, and as they go out of business, the latter
    > being one of my favorite times to bargain hunt.
    >
    > I don't think most shops can make a go by being the physical outlet for
    > 10 wholesaler's catalogs and three bike lines, and I think the
    > successful local shops around here all go beyond that basic, poor-margin
    > business in one key way or another.



    Service is the key...meaning being more than a bicycle and part
    'deliverer'. LBS that go under either don't understand the market, do
    what is succesful for another, but not necessarily for them. A local,
    one location shop, seeing the success of another. high volume shop, is
    putting huge $ into a 5000 sq ft place to try to go toe to toe with the
    original(two locations in Boulder for this one biz)...good luck to them
    but I think a risky idea. We saw a need for something in Boulder,
    decent service, and have been successful.

    I talked to a big Trek dealer in Boston who said the percentage of his
    gross $ was less than 10%. He was amazed when I said mine was
    75%....different business models. He is like the Toyota dealer, I am
    like Charlie's toyota repair.

    We are not hurt by MO, even with 2 store fronts on Boulder(Excel and
    Performance). If somebody buys a HS from Excel, we will put it
    in...because they trust our knowledge and expertise.
     
  5. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    On Fri, 30 Dec 2005 06:58:19 -0800, Qui si parla Campagnolo wrote:

    >
    > StaceyJ wrote:
    >> Qui si parla Campagnolo wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >> > As bike shop owner, I would say have them do the whole
    >> > enchilata...but we don't get sweated up if somebody wants us to build
    >> > them, brings us the hubs and rims. BUT if ya buy complete wheels, have
    >> > a wheelbuilder go through them doing tension, true, dish, round and
    >> > stress relieve.looks pretty good right now.

    >>
    >> I'm curious about something...I've looked into the economics of bike
    >> shop ownership (a foolish retirement dream of mine), and it seems that
    >> the margins on hard goods are almost nil...likely even lower on parts
    >> that are special ordered. In light of that, it seems that it would
    >> almost be preferable if someone would come in strictly for service (from
    >> my understanding, where the real money is). Does this ring true (even a
    >> little)?
    >>
    >> SYJ

    >
    > Absolutely...Bike shops that sell lots of bikes rely on volume to take
    > care of the 'poor' margins and the requirement to discount at the end of
    > the model year to 'make room' for new models.
    >
    > Self service soft goods are a good margin. Bicycles are a relatively poor
    > margin. labor, is agreat margin.
    >
    > Our initial model was 6 car dealers locally but over 30 repair places.
    > Honda/Acura-Hoshi motors, air cooled VW-Werner's, water cooled-Indian
    > peaks...etc. Knowledgeable, welldone service will always do well....same
    > for bicycles here in Boulder, why we service bicyclces bought
    > elsewhere...like the Macalu yesterday.
    >
    > Plus service only and ya don't have to put that 'sales' face on and say
    > things that 'may' stretch the truth. We tell it like it is..."no, those
    > ksyriums are NOT worth $800", even if it means we don't sell something.
    > Selling something that ya gotta take care of in the future, often at no
    > cost to the customer, means ya gotta believe in what you sell.
    >
    > We sell bicycles because my biz partner and I, from two other shops in
    > Boulder, brought a large clientel with us and they wanted to buy bikes
    > from US, specifically...But we only sell about a hundred per year....most
    > of our time is wrenching and wheelbuilding(about 400 wheels per year).


    A lot of bike shops would do much better if they could get their service
    dept. in order. Mechanical competence is one thing, but a service
    attitude and taking care of the customer is another that most don't seem
    to understand. The thing is, if they did this, customers would spend a
    lot more money there on the soft goods, etc. When the service dept. is
    more trouble than it's worth, many of us skip over the bike shops
    completely.

    Matt O.
     
  6. Paul Kopit

    Paul Kopit Guest

    On 29 Dec 2005 10:12:47 -0800, "StaceyJ" <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >I'm curious about something...I've looked into the economics of bike
    >shop ownership (a foolish retirement dream of mine), and it seems that
    >the margins on hard goods are almost nil...likely even lower on parts
    >that are special ordered. In light of that, it seems that it would
    >almost be preferable if someone would come in strictly for service
    >(from my understanding, where the real money is). Does this ring true
    >(even a little)?


    Not true. While true that service charges have little capital cost,
    you can't make that much in a day. The business is selling bicycles
    and, today, branded wheelsets. Selling a couple of bikes a day and
    some wheels makes money, especially if you keep your turns high and
    can sell before you have to pay for the goods. A well stocked shop
    may have ½ Million $ of capital invested.

    For the most part, the bike business is not a good investment. You
    have to love it.
     
  7. On 30 Dec 2005 07:07:34 -0800, "Qui si parla Campagnolo"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I talked to a big Trek dealer in Boston who said the percentage of his
    >gross $ was less than 10%. He was amazed when I said mine was
    >75%....different business models. He is like the Toyota dealer, I am
    >like Charlie's toyota repair.


    I'm willing to bet though that you've got a much larger figure for wages
    versus gross income, as well -- typical of a service-oriented shop.

    Jasper
     
  8. In article <[email protected]>,
    "Qui si parla Campagnolo" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > StaceyJ wrote:
    > > Qui si parla Campagnolo wrote:
    > >
    > > >
    > > > As bike shop owner, I would say have them do the whole enchilata...but
    > > > we don't get sweated up if somebody wants us to build them, brings us
    > > > the hubs and rims. BUT if ya buy complete wheels, have a wheelbuilder
    > > > go through them doing tension, true, dish, round and stress relieve.looks
    > > > pretty good
    > > > right now.

    > >
    > > I'm curious about something...I've looked into the economics of bike
    > > shop ownership (a foolish retirement dream of mine), and it seems that
    > > the margins on hard goods are almost nil...likely even lower on parts
    > > that are special ordered. In light of that, it seems that it would
    > > almost be preferable if someone would come in strictly for service
    > > (from my understanding, where the real money is). Does this ring true
    > > (even a little)?
    > >
    > > SYJ

    >
    > Absolutely...Bike shops that sell lots of bikes rely on volume to take
    > care of the 'poor' margins and the requirement to discount at the end
    > of the model year to 'make room' for new models.
    >
    > Self service soft goods are a good margin. Bicycles are a relatively
    > poor margin. labor, is agreat margin.
    >
    > Our initial model was 6 car dealers locally but over 30 repair places.
    > Honda/Acura-Hoshi motors, air cooled VW-Werner's, water cooled-Indian
    > peaks...etc. Knowledgeable, welldone service will always do
    > well....same for bicycles here in Boulder, why we service bicyclces
    > bought elsewhere...like the Macalu yesterday.


    Interesting that you make this clear. I was thinking of this today as
    two friends and I joined up to do some bike-building (one of them had
    just bought a bargain-priced Vitus 997 as a replacement for a bespoke
    Brooks frame that was about as old as I am).

    We were engaged in some creative hackery (upgrading a wheel with a new
    freehub to take a Campy-8-spaced Hyperglide cluster), and correcting a
    shop error (installing a mountain-bike axle in said hub: we cut and
    respaced it).

    But what we faced was a desire to make some rather seriously odd
    combinations of equipment work, combinations which traded wild
    labour-intensivity in exchange for using very cheap parts. There are
    few, if any local shops that would ever consider these projects, and
    fewer still that would do them at an economic rate. But as a hobby, they
    keep us off the streets.

    An example? I'm going to grind the threads of a Shimano low-stack
    headset off so I can turn it into a 1" threadless headset, allowing me
    to add a threadless 'cross fork to my Motobecane 'cross project. Because
    the fork is already cut and very close, I need the low-stack height, and
    because the Shimano spherical headset bearing design is about the best
    there is and insensitive to head tube face accuracy, it will work in
    this project, especially if I decide the head tube will need to be cut.

    This is obviously a result of two problems: we don't have a really nice
    head tube cutting/facing tool among our impromptu collective ($300+
    retail), and I'm too cheap to buy a cyclocross fork when I have a usable
    one in my pile.

    But then, this is what happens when one regards labour as free, and
    one's hobby of bodgery as its own reward. The real fun is that I'm
    effectively building myself a fairly usable and incredibly cheap 'cross
    bike.

    --
    Ryan Cousineau [email protected] http://www.wiredcola.com/
    "I don't want kids who are thinking about going into mathematics
    to think that they have to take drugs to succeed." -Paul Erdos
     
  9. Jasper Janssen wrote:
    > On 30 Dec 2005 07:07:34 -0800, "Qui si parla Campagnolo"
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > >I talked to a big Trek dealer in Boston who said the percentage of his
    > >gross $ was less than 10%. He was amazed when I said mine was
    > >75%....different business models. He is like the Toyota dealer, I am
    > >like Charlie's toyota repair.

    >
    > I'm willing to bet though that you've got a much larger figure for wages
    > versus gross income, as well -- typical of a service-oriented shop.
    >
    > Jasper


    Probably..decent mechanics are not cheap..
     
  10. Paul Kopit wrote:
    > On 29 Dec 2005 10:12:47 -0800, "StaceyJ" <[email protected]>
    > wrote:
    >
    > >I'm curious about something...I've looked into the economics of bike
    > >shop ownership (a foolish retirement dream of mine), and it seems that
    > >the margins on hard goods are almost nil...likely even lower on parts
    > >that are special ordered. In light of that, it seems that it would
    > >almost be preferable if someone would come in strictly for service
    > >(from my understanding, where the real money is). Does this ring true
    > >(even a little)?

    >
    > Not true. While true that service charges have little capital cost,
    > you can't make that much in a day.


    Disagree completely. 3 mechanics can easily gross $2000 perday in my
    shop. Most is labor, some is parts. ALL bicycles and branded wheelsets
    sell for the same, about 35% margin..NOT included in the bicycle and
    wheel price is the labor required to assemble and maintain.

    Selling 4 $500 bike per day(unusual in a shop of 1000 sq ft, like ours)
    does NOT generate the same $ in terms of margin, not even close. When
    our costs per mechanic is about $20 per hour and we charge $50 per hour
    labor-math is easy. ALL the service only car shops in Boulder sell
    service, NO cars or accesories...simple.

    The business is selling bicycles
    > and, today, branded wheelsets. Selling a couple of bikes a day and
    > some wheels makes money, especially if you keep your turns high and
    > can sell before you have to pay for the goods. A well stocked shop
    > may have ½ Million $ of capital invested.
    >
    > For the most part, the bike business is not a good investment. You
    > have to love it.
     
  11. RonSonic

    RonSonic Guest

    On Sat, 31 Dec 2005 08:59:43 GMT, Ryan Cousineau <[email protected]> wrote:

    >> Absolutely...Bike shops that sell lots of bikes rely on volume to take
    >> care of the 'poor' margins and the requirement to discount at the end
    >> of the model year to 'make room' for new models.
    >>
    >> Self service soft goods are a good margin. Bicycles are a relatively
    >> poor margin. labor, is agreat margin.
    >>
    >> Our initial model was 6 car dealers locally but over 30 repair places.
    >> Honda/Acura-Hoshi motors, air cooled VW-Werner's, water cooled-Indian
    >> peaks...etc. Knowledgeable, welldone service will always do
    >> well....same for bicycles here in Boulder, why we service bicyclces
    >> bought elsewhere...like the Macalu yesterday.

    >
    >Interesting that you make this clear. I was thinking of this today as
    >two friends and I joined up to do some bike-building (one of them had
    >just bought a bargain-priced Vitus 997 as a replacement for a bespoke
    >Brooks frame that was about as old as I am).
    >
    >We were engaged in some creative hackery (upgrading a wheel with a new
    >freehub to take a Campy-8-spaced Hyperglide cluster), and correcting a
    >shop error (installing a mountain-bike axle in said hub: we cut and
    >respaced it).
    >
    >But what we faced was a desire to make some rather seriously odd
    >combinations of equipment work, combinations which traded wild
    >labour-intensivity in exchange for using very cheap parts. There are
    >few, if any local shops that would ever consider these projects, and
    >fewer still that would do them at an economic rate. But as a hobby, they
    >keep us off the streets.


    At our shop we call these "arts and crafts" projects, with variation for the
    particular bit of foolery "Arps and crafts," etc. We lose money on that stuff
    and generally avoid it. What I do for my own gear is another thing entirely.

    >An example? I'm going to grind the threads of a Shimano low-stack
    >headset off so I can turn it into a 1" threadless headset, allowing me
    >to add a threadless 'cross fork to my Motobecane 'cross project. Because
    >the fork is already cut and very close, I need the low-stack height, and
    >because the Shimano spherical headset bearing design is about the best
    >there is and insensitive to head tube face accuracy, it will work in
    >this project, especially if I decide the head tube will need to be cut.
    >
    >This is obviously a result of two problems: we don't have a really nice
    >head tube cutting/facing tool among our impromptu collective ($300+
    >retail), and I'm too cheap to buy a cyclocross fork when I have a usable
    >one in my pile.
    >
    >But then, this is what happens when one regards labour as free, and
    >one's hobby of bodgery as its own reward. The real fun is that I'm
    >effectively building myself a fairly usable and incredibly cheap 'cross
    >bike.


    Cheap cross bikes rock. A very worthy investment of advanced bodgery.

    Ron
     
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